G. Robert Vincent Voice Library
Lansing Auto Town Gallery

Layton Aves discusses his career as a production worker and UAW organizer at REO Motor Car Company and Diamond REO Trucks, Inc.

Layton Aves, a production worker and UAW organizer at REO Motor Cars/Diamond-Reo Trucks, Inc., claims that in the 1940s only Ku Klux Klan members were allowed to join the union and work at the Lansing, MI plant. Aves says the UAW cooperated with the Klan in order to increase its strength and ability to organize workers and that union-management relations in the plant were often filled with animosity. Aves also talks about his duties at REO, where he worked from 1941 to 1975, life in the plant, his experiences with line speed-ups, piece counts, and time study, and the lives of his grandfather, father and mother, who all worked beside him the the REO factory. The interviewers are Shirley Bradley and Lisa Fine. Recorded as part of the "REO Memories" oral history project.